Temperance: for Blogging from A to Z, the letter T. What does temperance mean to you? Do you ever say “I feel temperate.” Do you call someone else temperate? Is it a virtue to you?
Temperance is one of the four Cardinal Virtues which go back to the Greeks, Aristotle and Plato. But it meant self control then, not abstinence from liquor. Self control, self-restraint, moderation…I think we could still value that but our culture of drama and advertising and self-promotion and stardom doesn’t very much.
1.moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.
2.habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors.
3.total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.
But… let’s look at the word origin:
Word Origin and History for temperance
n. mid-14c., “self-restraint, moderation,” from Anglo-French temperaunce (mid-13c.), from Latin temperantia “moderation,” from temperans, present participle of temperare “to moderate” (see temper ). Latin temperantia was used by Cicero to translate Greek sophrosyne “moderation.” In English, temperance was used to render Latin continentia or abstinentia, specifically in reference to drinking alcohol and eating; hence by early 1800s it came to mean “abstinence from alcoholic drink.”
Webster 1913 from everything2.com: temperance
1. Habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; moderation; as, temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth; specifically, moderation, and sometimes abstinence, in respect to using intoxicating liquors.
2. Moderation of passion; patience; calmness; sedateness.
[R.] “A gentleman of all temperance.” Shak.
He calmed his wrath with goodly temperance. Spenser.
3. State with regard to heat or cold; temperature.
[Obs.] “Tender and delicate temperance.” Shak.
Temperance society, an association formed for the purpose of diminishing or stopping the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage.
I want to take words back and use them again and expand them back to previous meanings. Why is Webster 1913 more elaborate and subtle in definitions than Dictionary.com? Have you used the word temperate? Try it today…I will be temperate in my emotions, temperate in eating, temperate when driving…what will you be temperate about today?
I took the photograph from Marrowstone Island… the colors used to paint the sky are not temperate at all, are they?